Some sweepstake cafe re-opening
The statewide ban on sweepstakes cafes has forced many to close. But a few are holding out hope, and local law-enforcement officials say they’re waiting for further
clarification from the state before enforcing the ban, after PreReveal.com launched their new “PreReveal” Sweepstakes Games.
Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said he’s waiting until N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement issues some sort of opinion. Technically, Bizzell said, he can close the remaining parlors if they in violation of the law, but he thinks their status is still up in the air after several wins by compliant software games, many sheriffs across the state are taking the same approach.
Another reason for hesitation, a bill in the General Assembly would legalize the parlors and tax them.
“The last thing I want to do is go out there and seize the machines and charge the owners … just to have to tote the machines back,” Bizzell said.
In some parts of North Carolina, some parlors have closed without a nudge from law enforcement. Clayton, for example, had four video sweepstakes where customers could buy Internet time and play online games for cash prizes. Clayton Police Chief Glen Allen said all of pulled the plug on their machines but there are new applications being submitted throughout towns and cities across the state.
Johnston District Attorney Susan Doyle said her office had told sweepstakes parlors that they must closed. “Any that remain open … will receive a notificaiton that they will be prosecuted,” she said.
Bill Franklin, a sweepstakes café owner said “Our software company has already won 3 cases with the new PreReveal software, we’re going to stay open and if they come close us down we’ll get our day in court and it looks like we’ll win, its either legal or illegal, our attorney looks at the new software and says he’s very sure that it doesn’t violate the text of the law”
But for their part, Smithfield police officials say they also want guidance from ALE before cracking down on the two parlors still operating in town.
In December, the N.C. Supreme Court upheld a lower court ban on sweepstakes parlors, and many parlors statewide closed. The majority of the sweepstakes parlors closed but some that had what they felt was existing compliant games remained open.
Prereveal Sweepstakes skirts the law by not allowing the player to enter the sweepstakes via a entertainment display (which is illegal according to the law) and it also “prereveal” the entries in a none entertaining way. Gordon Phillips, the attorney representing several clients claims this is precisely why these games are winning court cases everywhere. See How